Families have forgotten ‘centuries old tip’ for making meals cheaper

Shoppers are being reminded of a centuries old tip for reducing the cost of family meals.

With the cost of living soaring and people struggling to make ends meet, one budget meal planner is reminding families of a ‘quick and easy way’ to cut back.

Lorna Cooper is an expert in affordable cooking and the brains behind the popular Facebook page Feed your family for about £20 a week.

One of her latest tips has gone down a storm with followers – and it’s all about meat.

Read more: ‘I made Tesco’s budget roast for less than £1 a head and there’s just one thing I’d change’

With meat often being the most expensive part of a meal, she’s been telling people how to bulk out their meals to use less of the stuff.

Just like Yorkshire puddings and dumplings are used to fill people up, she says the same can be done with lentils, chickpeas, beans, barley and oats.

“We often tell people to bulk out meat meals,” she said in her post. “The reasons for this is that meat is often the most expensive aspect of the meal. Another is that we don’t actually need the huge portions of meat that many of us enjoy and by reducing the portion we reduce the price.

Lorna Cooper is an expert in affordable cooking

“It isn’t a new phenomena. Yorkshire puddings are used to fill up people so they eat less meat, same with dumplings and stuffing. Breadcrumbs are used in sausages, meat balls and meat loaf to reduce the meat content. Lentils, chickpeas, beans, barley and oats are used for the same reasons.

“It is a tip that has been used for centuries. If you don’t want to do it we won’t force you. But if you are meat eaters who want to reduce the cost of your weekly shop then it is a very quick and easy way to do it.”

Followers of savvy Lorna, who has also published books about budget cooking, praised the idea, with many saying they had given it a whirl.

“Bulked my spaghetti bowl with peppers and mushrooms, II actually preferred it,” said one.

Lorna's Facebook post
Lorna’s Facebook post

“I’ve just halved the amount of meat we have in things with mince and chicken and make it up up lentils and pulses,” said another. “It definitely helps save money and its not hurting the waistline either.”

One follower asked whether the family would notice a difference in taste from adding a tin of lentils to cottage pie or spaghetti bolognese.

While some said it made no difference, others offered their own tips.

“Use dried red lentils rather than green or tinned would be my advice,” said one. “They’re cheaper and a better color match for camouflage, but more importantly they smush down beautifully into the sauce. Start off with a small amount and increase gradually each time you make that dish. Just make sure they’re well broken down and you should get away with it.”

Do you have a tip for making meals go further? Have you found somewhere cheaper to buy your groceries? Let us know in the comments here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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